Geogarage

Thursday, April 24, 2014

This creek divides the US connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans link

 Parting of the Waters: a creek that flows to two oceans
A creek in Wyoming splits in two, one side flowing to the Atlantic and one side to the Pacific.
You can't pass the blue line without crossing water. 
Picture : wheatley_cereal/reddit
It's a bit tricky to follow the full route on Google Maps, but it goes something like this:
Columbia River (Wa.) → Snake River (Ore.) → Teton streams (Wyo.) → Yellowstone Lake (Wyo.) → Yellowstone River (Wyo.) → Missouri River (MT) → Mississippi River

From Gizmodo by Jesus Diaz

The Panama Canal is not the only water line connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

There's a place in Wyoming—deep in the Teton Wilderness Area of the Bridger-Teton National Forest—in which a creek splits in two.

Like the canal, this creek connects the two oceans dividing North America in two parts.

 see on USGS viewer


Yes. You read that right: North America is divided in two parts by a single water line that—no matter how hard you try not to—you will have to cross to go from North to South and vice versa.


The creek divides into two similar flows at a place called the Parting of the Waters, pictured above.


To the East, the creek flows "3,488 miles (5,613 km) to the Atlantic Ocean via Atlantic Creek and the Yellowstone, Missouri and Mississippi Rivers."
To the West, it flows "1,353 miles (2,177 km) to the Pacific Ocean via Pacific Creek and the Snake and Columbia Rivers."

Of course, unlike the Panama Channel, you can't navigate these waters—unless you are a fish:

At Parting of the Waters, water actually covers the Continental Divide such that a fish could safely swim from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean drainages. In fact, it is thought that this was the pass that provided the immigration route for Cutthroat Trout to migrate from the Snake River (Pacific) to Yellowstone River (Atlantic) drainages.


I don't know about you, but I find this to be pretty damn awesome.
But this is not the only water way to connect the two oceans.

Isa Lake, which is located close to the "Parting of the Waters", has two mouths.
The two mouths allows the water from the lake to flow to the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

Isa Lake, WY

In the same way, Divide Creek is a short creek near Kicking Horse Pass on the British Columbia/Alberta border (also the border between Yoho National Park and Banff National Park). After following the Continental Divide of the Americas for a short distance, the creek forks, with one side draining east to the Atlantic Ocean into Hudson Bay through the Bow River, and the other side draining west to the Pacific Ocean through the Kicking Horse River.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Who owns the North Pole? Debate heats up as climate change transforms Arctic link

Photographer: Marketa Jirouskova/Getty Images

From Bloomberg by

Russia, Denmark and Canada all are trying to prove that their land masses extend to the North Pole, handing the international commission that gives its expert recommendations on such matters its most highly contested issue to date and highlighting the central role the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea will have in determining the future of the rapidly changing region.

The polar region's global status has risen as it has shed its ice cover at a rate of 46,100 square kilometers per year since 1981, with summer sea ice loss accelerating over the past decade in terms of ice extent and thickness.
Winter ice extent is also at historically low levels, with 2014 marking the fourth-lowest February ice extent in the satellite record, 910,000 kilometers below the 1981 to 2010 average, according to the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center.

Completely ice-free summers could come by mid-century by some estimates.
Despite the risks of open water at the pole dramatically accelerating warming by absorbing rather than reflecting heat, politicians and business officials frequently cite the melting of sea ice as one of the opportunities offered by human-caused climate change, as offshore resources become accessible and new shipping lanes open.

In August 2007, the summer of the lowest ice extent in the Arctic Ocean recorded until that time, a Russian submarine expedition planted a titanium Russian flag at the sea bed of the North Pole.
The incident set off speculation about a rush to resources in the remote region and signaled that jurisdiction over the top of the world held great political significance.

“The event caused an expectedly nervous reaction in the West, because we not only demonstrated the flag, we demonstrated our actual abilities to ensure the widest presence in the Arctic,” Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin wrote March 14 in an editorial in the state newspaper Rossiskaya Gazeta.
He indicated that Russia is now ready to make its next moves in the Arctic.
“The time to boost those abilities has come.”


Overlapping Claims, U.S. Interest

As Russia, Denmark and Canada vie to stake their claims, a complicating factor is that a fourth country, the United States, has conducted research on how far the continental shelf extends from Alaska toward the North Pole and could potentially stake its own claim.
However, the U.S. cannot submit any of its evidence because it is not a party to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Norway, a fifth country that could conceivably have a territorial claim to the North Pole, has said that it will not pursue any claim under UNCLOS.

Russian officials are making repeated statements about the government's intent to claim jurisdiction over the North Pole through a coming submission of evidence to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf under UNCLOS.
The submission will be a continuation of one made to the commission in 2001, which the panel determined insufficient.
Russia was directed to resubmit its evidence “within a reasonable time.”

Canada and Denmark likely won't be far behind, claiming in recent submissions to the commission that they each will soon submit evidence that their continental shelves extend to the North Pole.
Canada made a partial submission to the commission on Dec. 9, 2013, on delineating its outer continental shelf in the Atlantic Ocean. It did not include data about the North Pole, but specifically reserved Canada's right to make a submission of such evidence in the future.
“Work to determine the full extent of our continental shelf in the Arctic continues and could include obtaining further data around the North Pole,” the Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a Dec. 9, 2013, statement.
Denmark likewise made a partial submission Nov. 26, 2013, on the limits of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles in the North-Eastern Continental Shelf of Greenland, which created an opening for later submission of evidence regarding the North Pole.
“Collection and analysis of scientific and technical data continues in the remaining area north of Greenland for which a submission is contemplated,” the government of the Kingdom of Denmark said in its partial submission.

Deadlines for Submissions Relaxed

A country has 10 years from the entry into force of its ratification of the convention to submit its evidence for continental shelf jurisdiction beyond 200 nautical miles, but the deadlines have been relaxed under two decisions at the meeting of state parties of the Law of the Sea Convention.

Now “it's just enough to indicate to the Commission that there will be a submission” and there is no violation if submissions come late, Øystein Jensen, senior research fellow and expert on the International Law of the Sea at the Norwegian Fridtjof Nansen Institute, told Bloomberg BNA in an interview.

The review of the overlapping submissions on the North Pole will be the most high-profile issue ever before the 21-member Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.
The default exclusive economic zone for every coastal state under international law is 200 nautical miles from the coast.
States must document the extension of their continental shelves beyond the 200 nautical miles and submit the evidence to the Commission for its recommendation.

“The Commission has dealt with such issues before, but not issues that are so … much talked about, so it is a bit difficult, I think, for the Commission and for the coastal states, because actually this issue will be decisive in the Arctic Ocean,” Jensen said.
“It's a big question internationally; it's an important region; it's prestigious. Whether they succeed in obtaining all of these areas depends on a legal interpretation.”

The process for determining the location of the outer limits of a country's continental shelf under Article 76 of the Law of the Sea framework begins by determining whether underwater elevations, or sea floor highs, constitute the so-called natural prolongation of the territory of the coastal state.

If the answer is yes, the next step is to determine whether the sea floor highs are ridges or elevations, a crucial distinction in the convention.
If the highs are determined to be ridges, they stop at 350 nautical miles, which is before the North Pole for every country. If they are elevations, they may extend farther than that, with no legal limit on how far they can go.

Oil and Natural Gas?

A finding by the commission that a country's continental shelf extends to the North Pole is limited to granting that country exclusive jurisdiction to develop any resources in the sea bed.

The Arctic Ocean is estimated to hold up to 20 percent of the world's undiscovered and recoverable oil and natural gas, including an estimated 90 billion barrels of oil and 1,669 trillion cubic feet of natural gas liquids, most of which lies beneath less than 500 meters of water, according to the widely cited U.S. Geological Survey review of 2008.
The Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment estimates that the Russian Arctic continental shelf contains 76 billion tons of oil equivalent.

However, these estimates reflect areas that for the most part fall within the 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zones of the Arctic coastal states.
The deep oceanic basin at the North Pole has either not been quantifiably assessed or found to have low petroleum potential.

There is very little expectation that the sea bed beyond 200 nautical miles in the Arctic Ocean contains significant resources, such as oil, gas and minerals, according to Erik Molenaar, senior research associate at the Netherlands Institute for the Law of the Sea and a professor at the University of Tromso.
In addition, any exploration in the deep, cold, remote area is likely to remain prohibitively expensive for development for the foreseeable future.
“The waters are very deep, and there's probably no oil in it,” Molenaar told Bloomberg BNA in an interview.

The likelihood that the sea bed at the North Pole contains no significant resources, particularly the types of large deposits required to make exploration in the Far North economically feasible, has many observers scratching their heads about the importance the states seem to be placing on obtaining economic jurisdiction over it.

‘The National Psyche'

“If you take the legal dimension, you will see that having continental shelf jurisdiction is not about sovereignty or anything like that,” Jensen said.
“The sea bed of the North Pole will never be Danish or Canadian or Russian or whatever; it will not become part of any state's exclusive control and usage. It will become part of its exclusive jurisdiction, but only in terms of oil and gas. So there is nothing unique about the North Pole in this perspective. It's just a part of the sea bed, so it's a bit difficult to see what all of the fuss is about.”

The importance of the North Pole is likely pure politics, after some states have made declarations about owning the North Pole, according to Molenaar.
“It's really part of the national psyche in a sense,” he said.
“It would be seen as a defeat if they have to acknowledge that it is in fact beyond their outer continental shelf. It would be seen as giving up sovereignty. If you have to concede that your claim is not consistent with international law, then this is seen as a loss.”

There are indications that jurisdiction over the North Pole is indeed important to some Arctic states.
For example, the Russian government March 15 received the official document from the commission declaring Russian economic jurisdiction over about 50,000 square kilometers in the Sea of Okhotsk in the western Pacific Ocean that lie outside its 200 nautical mile limit.

Even though research shows the Sea of Okhotsk sea bed is likely rich in natural resources, the decision represents only “the first step” in Russia's efforts to attain greater economic jurisdiction in the Arctic, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Sergei Donskoy said.
“We believe the positive decision on the Sea of Okhotsk is very important, especially in the context of the future consideration of the Russian proposal on the limits of the Arctic continental shelf,” Donskoy said.

Questions of Rule of Law

Due to the significance placed on obtaining jurisdiction over the North Pole, and given recent violations of the norms of the Law of the Sea Convention, some experts see risks of noncompliance with any recommendations from the commission that would negate a country's submission.

One significant recent violation is Russia's refusal to participate in the dispute-resolution proceeding called by the Netherlands over Russia's arrest of environmental activists who disrupted the activities of a Gazprom drilling platform in the Pechora Sea and seizure of the Dutch-flagged ship Arctic Sunrise last year.
“That's a very clear disrespect for international law. You are a party to the Law of the Sea Convention, and thereby you are bound to the dispute-settlement procedure,” Molenaar said.

Another similar example is China's refusal to participate in a dispute-resolution procedure requested by the Philippines over an area in the South China Sea outside China's exclusive economic zone that China claims for itself.

Such disregard for an international treaty can have broad impacts on various multilateral bodies and negotiation processes and bring about wider distrust and noncompliance.

“The risk is disrespect for agreed multilateral procedures. There is a risk in the background that Russia or even Canada will not act in accordance with the recommendations of the [commission], and this fear I think is more justified because of this nonappearance in the Arctic Sunrise case, and maybe even the recent developments in Ukraine” where Russia is viewed as violating the borders of Ukraine's sovereign territory.

 Eisenhower nuclear powered aircraft carrier in Arctic

The U.S. Factor

The high level of engagement of Russia, Canada and Denmark in the Law of the Sea process at a critical time for the Arctic region contrasts sharply with the complete lack of participation by the United States, since it is a non-party to the treaty.

“When we talk about any kind of jurisdiction, any kind of boundaries, any kind of governance structure, we are talking from a position of weakness” as the only Arctic state that is not a party to UNCLOS, said retired U.S. Navy Rear Adm. David Titley, director of the Center for Solutions to Weather and Climate Risk at the Penn State Department of Meteorology.
“We undercut our authority,” he told Bloomberg BNA in an interview.

The example of China and Russia's flouting of the convention's norms also presents the possibility that the treaty could be renegotiated to become more favorable to those countries' interests.
UNCLOS as currently written is extremely favorable to U.S. interests, codifying the rights of freedom of navigation and passage that are important to maintaining its global power status, according to Titley.
“The real strategic threat for us not being a [party to UNCLOS] is if anybody at some point wants to change the rules of the game … we're not going to have a seat at that table,” Titley said.
UNCLOS “basically codifies up a world in which the U.S. is kind of the number one dog. And so now by not ratifying this, as the world changes, and maybe if that situation changes, we're not even going to be in the room when—if this ever gets looked at again. … It's frankly pretty hard to see that another [international legal] regime would be as friendly to U.S. interests as is UNCLOS. That's a real danger.”

Another key risk connected with the United States not being a party to the treaty is that the treaty itself is weakened by lack of U.S. participation, because it is important as a big coastal state and a major economy, according to Jensen.

Questions of Legitimacy

At the same time, the United States is not able to make its own submission regarding the outer limits of its continental shelf and does not have representatives involved in the process of making recommendations.

“To the U.S. itself and to the international community, it would be a benefit if the U.S. ratified,” Jensen said.

A senior State Department official told BBNA April 3 that joining the treaty remains a “high priority” for the U.S.

The Arctic is “one of the chief reasons why we need to join,” the official said.
The U.S. has been actively exploring the Arctic Ocean north of Alaska to determine the outer limits of its continental shelf, but the U.S. has not explored as far north as the North Pole.
“We are entitled to this continental shelf whether we are a party to the convention or not,” the State Department official said, but “what we are not entitled to is secure recognition” of the U.S. claim by other countries.

Joining the convention has support from both parties, the U.S. military and relevant industry groups. However, the measure has repeatedly been passed over in the U.S. Senate and is not expected to be taken up in the near future.
“Over time, support will continue to grow for the convention and we will join,” the State Department official said.

Another problematic aspect with UNCLOS is questions surrounding the legitimacy of the commission itself, due to the closed nature of the process for reviewing country submissions.

“We don't have access to the submissions, we cannot see them” beyond a general summary, Jensen said. The process “is basically closed from day one. It's basically an issue between an individual coastal state and the Commission, and that is a bit unfortunate because placing the outer limits, indeed, also is a question relevant to other states.”

The commission has taken steps to improve its transparency by creating additional procedures that it has vowed to follow. However, the additional procedures are not enforceable by states, according to Jensen.

Timeline for Decisions

In the case of the North Pole, where the area is controversial and contested, it will take quite a long time to for the commission to make a determination on coastal state jurisdiction.
“The commission has a quite a big backlog to deal with, meaning that these Arctic submissions will be far down the line for processing,” Jensen said.

The timing also depends on the level of funding states accord to the process.
“The current projection [for replying to submissions] is 2041, but they have to make further investments if they want to speed up the process,” Molenaar said.
If parties double current funding levels and the coastal states submit their data this year, the decision could come by 2027, according to recent research.

Norway could possibly have a claim, but the country already said it will not pursue any claim to the North Pole under UNCLOS.
That leaves the United States, which has conducted research on how far the continental shelf extends from Alaska toward the North Pole.
However, the U.S. cannot submit any of its evidence because it is not a party to the treaty.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Would you be underwater if the polar caps melted? Map reveals what our planet would look like if sea levels rose by 260ft link

www.halcyonmaps.com/the-world-rising-sea-level/
Martin Vargic, an amateur graphic designer from Slovakia, has created this map to depict how the planet will look with sea levels around 260ft (79m) higher than they are today.
Information panels outside the main map show 2013 population by country, 2100 population by country as well as countries with highest and lowest fertility rates

From DailyMail by Ellie Zolfagharifard   

  • Martin Vargic created the map to depict the planet with sea levels around 260ft (79m) higher than they are today
  • Current coastlines are shown using a dotted line and the areas that will be submerged by water are unshaded
  • In Europe, towns including London, Amsterdam and Berlin would completely disappear as the sea level rises
  • In the U.S., large parts of the east coast would be submerged including Miami, New Orleans and Washington
  • The Amazon would bursts its banks engulfing parts of Brazil, and a huge chunk of Australia would be swamped
Global sea levels have risen by 8 inches (20cm) since 1880 and scientists predict they could rise up to 3ft (98cm) by 2100.
But despite the UN’s recent threats of war, famine and extreme weather, such a dramatically different world caused by sea level rise can be hard to imagine.
To help picture the future, Martin Vargic, an amateur graphic designer from Slovakia, has created a map depicting the planet with sea levels around 260ft (79m) higher than they are today.


He imagines what Earth would look like if the ice sheets surrounding the North and South poles melted, releasing five million cubic miles of water into the world's oceans.
Whilst at first glance it doesn't seem much different to a map of the world today, a closer looks shows huge unshaded areas swamped by water with today's existing coastlines depicted in dotted lines.

A close up of Europe reveals how more than half of England would disappear, including towns such as London and Leicester.
Amsterdam would also be submerged as would areas further inland such as Berlin in Germany.
In the U.S., large parts of the east coast would be submerged including New York, Houston, Miami, New Orleans and Washington.

The current coastlines are shown using a dotted line and the areas that will be submerged by water if the ice sheets surrounding the North and South poles melted are unshaded. 
This close up of Europe shows how more than half of England would disappear, including towns such as London and Leicester. Amsterdam would also be submerged as would areas further inland such as Berlin

 In the U.S., large parts of the east coast would be submerged including New York, Houston, Miami, New Orleans and Washington.
According to recent studies, there is enough ice in Earth's polar caps to cause a 250-300ft (80-100m) rise in sea level

In October, researchers at the University of Hawaii said that Earth is racing towards an apocalyptic future in which major cities such as New York and London could become uninhabitable.
The first U.S. cities to feel the changes would be Honolulu and Phoenix, followed by San Diego and Orlando, in 2046. New York and Washington will get new climates around 2047, with Los Angeles, Detroit, Houston, Chicago, Seattle, Austin and Dallas a bit later.
By 2043, 147 cities — more than half of those studied — will have shifted to a hotter temperature regime that is beyond historical records.
Meanwhile the Amazon would bursts its banks, becoming a sea and engulfing vast areas of Brazil, and a huge chunk of Australia would be swamped by the Artesian Sea and Murray Gulf.
'I worked on this map for about, gathering the data and rendering all the labels,' said Mr Vargic, speaking to MailOnline. 'It was entirely digitally hand-drawn, based on gathered topography data from Nasa.
'I was always interested in the future climate change and human influence on the global warming. I created these maps both to raise awareness about the global warming and also because nobody has yet done this on such a scale
‘According to recent studies, there is enough ice in Earth’s polar caps to cause about 250-300ft (80–100m) rise of the sea level,’ he said on his website.
‘Result of such an event would be catastrophic to human civilisation and Earth’s biosphere.’
More than 75 per cent of the world’s population lives below 300ft (100m) above the sea level, including the vast majority of all large urban areas.
As the warming gradually progresses, scientists predict that we will experience more and more extreme weather events.
Hurricanes, typhoons and massive floods will occur more frequently and on a much more devastating scale.
The world’s deserts will expand, engulfing areas as large as the entire continent of Australia, including Southern Europe, the Caribbean and entire southeast of Africa.
‘Although this scenario is extremely unlikely to happen within our lifetimes, the truth is, that climate is going to change sharply,’ claims Mr Vargic.
‘Unless we limit our CO2 emissions to bare minimum, Earth will be more than 4°C warmer in the year 2100 as it is now.

As the warming gradually progresses, scientists predict that we will experience more and more extreme weather events.
Hurricanes, typhoons and massive floods will occur more frequently and on a much more devastating scale.
The Amazon would burst its banks, engulfing huge areas in Brazil

A huge chunk of Australia would be swamped by the Artesian Sea and Murray Gulf.
World's deserts will expand, engulfing areas as large as the entire continent of Australia, including Southern Europe, the Caribbean and entire southeast of Africa

‘Such a rise in temperature would be destructive to environment and human civilisation as well.’
Scientists believe it could take around 5,000 years for temperatures to rise significantly enough to melt all the ice on the planet, but claim the planet is already seeing the beginnings of this.
Over the past century, reports suggest the Earth's temperature has increased by around half a degree Celsius and, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), this has already caused sea levels to rise by around 7 inches (18cm).
The largest concentrations of ice on Earth are found in Greenland and Antarctica but it is also found on exposed areas, on mountain tops and in other regions.
The East Antarctica ice sheet, for example, is so large it contains around 80 per cent of all the ice on the planet and its size has protected it previously during warmer periods in Earth’s history.

Martin Vargic imagines what Earth would look like if the ice sheets surrounding the North and South poles - which contains five million cubic miles of frozen water - melted.Pictured here is the Antarctic without its polar ice

In Mr Vargic's depiction, the U.S. would shrink dramatically.A separate study found that if climate change continues, the first U.S. cities to feel extreme weather changes would be Honolulu and Phoenix, followed by San Diego and Orlando, in 2046

This includes during the Eocene epoch - a period of increased global temperatures that lasted from 56 to 34 million years ago.
During this period of time, little to no ice was present on Earth and there was little difference in temperature at the equator compared to the poles.
Warming oceans are already melting the floating ice sheet in west Antarctica and since 1992, and the sheet has lost around 65 million metric tonnes of ice each year.
In October, researchers at the University of Hawaii said that Earth is racing towards an apocalyptic future in which major cities such as New York and London could become uninhabitable.
It added that the scenario is too late to reverse and mankind needs to prepare for a world where the coldest years will be warmer than what we remember as the hottest.
With the climate change trend continuing, it argued that New York City will begin to experience dramatic, life altering temperatures by 2047, Los Angeles by 2048 and London by 2056.

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2013/09/rising-seas/if-ice-melted-map
National Geographic recently created a series of maps similar to Mr Vargic's, demonstrating the catastrophic effect Earth's ice could cause if it melted and flowed into the oceans and seas.
If these ice sheets melted, the rest of the world would be affected.
In Europe, pictured, cities including London and Venice would be lost underwater, as would the whole of the Netherlands and most of Denmark.
It would also cause the Mediterranean to expand and swell the Black and Caspian Seas

The last time the Earth was ice-free was 34 million years ago during the Eocene epoch.
If this happened again, the entire Atlantic seaboard in the U.S would vanish, wiping out Florida and the Gulf Coast.
While the hills in San Francisco would become islands and San Diego would be lost forever

How Britain would look if the ice sheets melted.
A large proportion of the country would be left underwater

However, if harmful greenhouse emissions are stabilised, New York would be able to stave off the inevitable changes until 2072 and London until 2088.
The first U.S. cities to feel the changes would be Honolulu and Phoenix, followed by San Diego and Orlando, in 2046. New York and Washington will get new climates around 2047, with Los Angeles, Detroit, Houston, Chicago, Seattle, Austin and Dallas a bit later.
By 2043, 147 cities — more than half of those studied — will have shifted to a hotter temperature regime that is beyond historical records - in what is known as Climate Departure.
To help depict such changes, National Geographic recently created a series of maps similar to Mr Vargic’s, demonstrating the catastrophic effect Earth’s ice could cause if it melted and flowed into the oceans and seas.
These maps show how the entire Atlantic seaboard in the U.S would vanish, wiping out Florida and the Gulf Coast.
While the hills in San Francisco would become islands and San Diego would be lost forever.
In the east, China and Bangladesh would both be completely flooded, wiping out around 760 million people based on current population levels.
The coastlines of India would also be reduced.
In South America, the Amazon Basin and the Paraguay River Basin would both become Atlantic inlets and this would wipe out Buenos Aires, coastal Uruguay, and some of Paraguay.
The only areas that would survive are mountainous stretches along the Caribbean coast and in Central America.

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Monday, April 21, 2014

Seal of approval link


These seals are young pups who are very curious about the area in which they live.
At the time of year that this was filmed the seals were about 2 months old and already 2m long and about 200-300lbs in weight.
As always once the seals get older and move off to form colonies of their own elsewhere and the majority of them will not see people again.
Fully adult seals are rarely this interactive and whilst tolerant of divers they tend to keep away after their first year of diver visits.

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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Stress and effect on a vessel in severe weather conditions link

Stress and effect on a vessel in severe weather conditions.
Recorded during passage from Suez Canal to Singapore, recorded in June 2008.

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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Big shore break link

Gas Chambers is a fast, hollow and shallow point break type of wave.
Being that it is a high performance wave it is well suited for the average to pro level surfer.
Sandy's beach is the host of Gas Chambers, located on the North Shore of Oahu about a 1/4 of a mile north of Ehukai Beach Park and 1/2 a mile west of Sunset Beach Park.

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Friday, April 18, 2014

Frigid Winter? Blame 4,000 years of wild Jet Streams link


The polar jet stream can travel at speeds greater than 100 mph.
Here, the fastest winds are colored red; slower winds are blue.

From LivScience by Becky Oskin

This winter's wild weather got its start 4,000 years ago, a new study finds.
The roaring jet stream, whose swooping winds drove frigid cold in the East and record warmth in the West this winter, first started twisting and turning about 4,000 years ago, according to a new analysis of ancient rainfall records from North America.
Jet stream winds race from west to east, and kinks in the narrow atmospheric current can suck Arctic cold south or hold warm air in place.

The study shows the jet stream's plunging pattern is a long-standing natural phenomenon.
However, the findings also suggest that global warming may boost the frequency or intensity of the curves, which would mean more winter extremes in the United States and Canada, the researchers said.
The study was published today (April 16) in the journal Nature Communications.

"The pattern we've observed points to a strong potential for an increase in winter extremes in the future," said Gabe Bowen, a study co-author and paleoclimatologist at the University of Utah.
Bowen and his co-authors examined the 8,000-year history of a weather pattern called the Pacific-North America Teleconnection.
The teleconnection refers to blobs of high and low atmospheric pressure above the Pacific Ocean and North America that direct the jet stream's strength and location.

Lead study author Zhongfang Liu, now at the Tianjin Key Laboratory in China, tracked the jet stream's location for the past 8,000 years with oxygen isotopes (atoms of the same element with different numbers of neutrons) from caves and lake sediments.
The ratio of certain oxygen isotopes reveals the history of rainwater, such as how cold the air was when the water fell and where the water came from.
Looking at the rainwater's history helps trace the pattern of the jet stream, which drives storms across the continent.
The team also compared their rainfall records with tree ring records and more recent instrumental data.

What is the jet stream?
How does the jet stream affect our weather?
This animation explains how the jet stream works.

 The rainfall patterns reveal the jet stream was relatively "flat," moving straight and steady from about 8,000 to 4,000 years ago, the study reports.
Then, about 4,000 years ago, the amount of solar energy reaching the Northern Hemisphere dropped. (This drop was caused by Earth's 20,000-year precession, the slow change in its rotation axis.)
The change in the sun's energy altered worldwide climate, such as triggering a stronger El Niño/La Niña cycle and a shift in monsoonal rainfall over India and Pakistan.

The jet stream pattern also shifted 4,000 years ago, going from flat to curvy over a period of about 500 years, the researchers found.
For example, the isotopes show more Arctic air moving south in the East, and more tropical air heading north in the West, consistent with wrinkles in the jet stream.
The curves help explain why some parts of North America became colder or wetter, while others grew drier or warmer, Bowen said.
"We knew the changing seasonality of the climate in North America wasn't uniform, and we were able to link it to this change in the jet stream," Bowen said.

These maps show winter temperature patterns (top) and winter precipitation patterns (bottom) associated with a curvy jet stream.
Credit: Zhongfang Liu, Tianjin Normal University, China

Sun to blame?

So was this winter's bizarre weather the result of natural climate swings?
Not at all, Bowen said.
"All things being equal, with the solar forcing that kicked in 4,000 years ago, we'd actually expect to be heading the other way now and starting to decrease the jet stream curviness," Bowen told Live Science.


A short review of how the jetstream and Rossby waves work, and some emerging indications that the dynamics may be changing in a warming world.

Several recent studies have argued that the jet stream's twists and turns are being exacerbated by climate change.
That's because the jet stream's high-speed air current forms at the border between hot and cold air masses.
As global warming changes the distribution of hot and cold air on the planet, the location and pattern of the jet stream may change too.

"Whether the Pacific-North America Teleconnection will continue to vary in the future as it has for the past few thousand years will have important implications in terms of water availability and climate in the western United States," said Max Berkelhammer, a hydrologist at the University of Illinois, Chicago, who was not involved in the study

But until now, only a century of instrumental records have been available to model the jet stream's response to global warming.
The new study "gives us a good look at natural variability so that we can gain a better understanding about how the jet stream has responded to past changes," said Lesleigh Anderson, a research geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey who was not involved in the study
"This is what we need to know to better understand what could happen in the future with rising carbon dioxide."

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